ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Cristal Wilson is one of seven teachers from across the state of New Mexico to be honored with the Golden Apple Award in 2013. Ironic since she always vowed to never become a teacher.
Wilson teaches pre-k students with autism at Mark Twain Elementary in Albuquerque. She says the job comes with its fair share of challenges but it's something she is passionate about.
"Eight different children means eight different learning styles" says Wilson.
As a teacher, Wilson has to deal with many situations other teachers don't. Along with teaching the kids the basics and preparing them for kindergarten, she must also help them learn social behavior, everything from going to be grocery store with their parents to more personal issues.
"We make decisions together on things I don't think they ever thought they would have to trust a teacher to help them with," Wilson said.
Many people tell Wilson she has a gift. She says it's a calling. Wilson says she told her mother, who is also a teacher, how she would never become a teacher herself.
"(I told her) You're a teacher you work way too hard and don't make enough money so I am never going to do that, yet here I am " says Wilson
Wilson says along with making sure her students succeed in school and life part of her mission is to bring attention to autism. She wants society to understand the kids and value them.
"(people) come with the pre-conceived notion that autism is scary and something that is untouchable and I think if we change our perception as a society then it won't be near as scary," Wilson said.
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